Plum Viewing

Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly roundup of arts and culture to enjoy online.

Hello lovely readers. I am here this week to completely confuse you with a Thursday edition of Plum Viewing and to beg your forgiveness for not taking care of your entertainment needs last week. I really wanted but pesky work deadlines just kept getting in my way (my dream of independent wealth has sadly not yet been realized!)

But, I am back now with a holiday edition of Plum Viewing and hopefully lots of lovely treats to lift your spirit as we once again prepare ourselves for the next round of grim news. Dear readers, we can do this and remember, there is ALWAYS wine!!!

With that, here are this week’s picks:

Toronto’s Tafelmusik is giving us a much needed dose of holiday cheer with A Tafelmusik Christmas, an online holiday concert which premieres tonight, Dec 16 at 8 pm ET. Here’s the description: “Curated by Ivars Taurins, this festive program spans two centuries and reunites members of the choir and orchestra for the first time in 2021.”

The program includes a selection of choruses from Handel’s Messiah and choral works by Berlioz and Poulenc. I, for one, am very much looking forward to this and God knows, we could all use a little cheer at the moment. Tickets are $19 and can be purchased here.

Jazz at Lincoln Center is back with its holiday concert, Big Band Holidays. Every December, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis brings its soulful big band arrangements to our favourite holiday classics. Along with the orchestra, we can also look forward to hearing special guest vocalist Alita Moses giving us her twist on “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,” “What Child is This,” and “Jingle Bells.”

This concert is sold-out every year and this year is no exception BUT lucky for us, we can enjoy it online from Dec 15 until Dec 25. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here. So mix your cocktail of choice and enjoy!

Okay, it goes without saying that The Nutcracker is a holiday classic and for good reason. But, if you’re craving this classic with a little twist, I have just the thing for you! Duke Ellington and His Orchestra performing The Nutcracker Suite. It’s a jazz version that is just delightful. The perfect soundtrack for cooking, reading, relaxing or whatever takes your fancy! You can watch the performance here or find it on Spotify. And, because you can never have too much Duke Ellington in your life, here is his performance in Montreal in 1964. Still wonderful.

For those of us looking for a little break from all the holiday performances (lovely as they are!), we can count on The Irish Rep to entertain us with its very full library of digital performances. I may have single-handedly kept this theatre up and running during lockdown as I swear I have watched almost everyone of these performances and am so grateful to them. If you need help getting started, try Belfast Blues, a one woman tour de tour. You will not be disappointed I promise!

Continuing the non-holiday theme, two weeks ago the world lost the great Stephen Sondheim. And, as a tribute to this great man, New York’s Town Hall is presenting an encore performance of a Conversation With James Lapine and Steven Sondhiem. It was recorded in August of this year to mark the release of Lapine’s Putting It Together, which tells the story of Sunday in the Park with George, the first of Lapine’s collaborations with Sondheim. Moderated by the great Christine Baransk, we’re treated to visits from special guests including Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, who were part of the original cast of Sunday in the Park. Watching this now feels even more special and like a true privilege. It’s available to stream until Dec 25 and you can access it here.

And, I will leave you with a shameless plug for Partial Gallery. We are making news again (yay!). This week Partial’s founder Tammy Yiu Coyne was the special guest on Bet On Yourself with Fred VanVleet and Derek Folk talking about her inspiration and her journey to start Partial. You can check it out here

And, if you still haven’t checked off everyone from your list, fear not. Partial has you covered with three very last minute but wonderful gift options for you and everyone on your list. You can find your perfect option here

And, with that I want to wish you all a very happy and relaxing holiday and thank you so much for reading Plum Viewing. We’ll be back in 2022 with a new batch of things to enjoy. Until then, I’ll leave you with the Christmas song of choice in the Fairs’ household. It is, of course, Fairytale of New York, by the Pogues and Kristy MacColl. Honestly, how can you not love a Chrstmas song that starts with, “it was Christmas babe, in the drunk tank.” I mean….

Happy holidays dear readers!!

And, an ask: While we’re enjoying these wonderful performances, let’s remember that for the arts organizations producing this incredible content, this is their livelihood; not a hobby. If we can, now is our time to continue to support our incredible arts community!

And, if you’d like to receive Plum Viewing weekly, send me a note at and I will add you to my mailing list.



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